These last two years of my husband's job loss has been strenuous to say the least. It has been one battle after the next. See, I guess all my life I have never really had to want for anything. Have we been really wealthy? Nope, but I have never had any wants that I couldn't just go and get for myself. We always had insurance. I mean paid in full insurance. I was always blessed to be in the position where I could stay home with our children.
My husband has been laid off before, but it's only been for a few months at a time. Never like this. He has never had to search for a job this hard. We were always prepared because our savings was full. If I wanted to go shopping I could. If I wanted to fill my bathroom with Mary Kay I could. All those little extras we never really thought about.
It is humbling when you walk into Family Services asking for help. You sit down and begin to fill out all the paperwork while those around you are watching you. You can feel their eyes upon you. I know what they are thinking. "Why is she here? She doesn't look like she needs help." I sit in front of a worker who says to me. "Have you looked for work?" I just want to begin crying, but I wait until I am in the car alone so no one can see. See, I too am disabled, although just by looking you would never know. Well, unless I was limping in pain. I say to the woman sitting in front of me, "I wish I could work. If I could you bet I would be out there working night and day."
I have made so many calls asking for help with medical, food stamps and heating assistance. You no longer pay with food stamps. You have a little debt card. Oh, but it is blue and those behind you know exactly what it is as you are in line to pay. Calling and asking your doctor if they accept Medicaid only to hear no does not help. That means a call into the local clinic.
Friends who were once calling and spending time with you no longer seem to be around. It's funny when you can't go out to dinner and spend money it just seems like some just don't want to be around. Maybe they do and they just don't know what to say. I can tell you for the last two years very few people have asked, "How are you?" When ones heart is already broken that only adds to your pain. You feel abandoned and lonely. This is a journey that only my husband, son and I know just how bad things have really been. Yes, there are those few that are close to me that have reached out and have listened as I have shared my heart.
That old song, "Friends in low places", well now, that is a true song. You know who your friends are when all is just about gone. It seems when you have fallen on hard times is when those around you would reach out and show love. I don't mean by giving you something. I mean just letting you know they are there. Just being a friend. I have the most amazing pastor who knows every detail of our lives for the past two years. This has been a road I wouldn't want anyone on, but you know, there are so many who have been on it for years.
Oh sure, I was one of those people who looked at those on food stamps and Medicaid and thought, "Gosh, can't they go get a job instead of living off the government?" Now here we sit eating our humble pie in a place I never expected us to be. We have made this journey with the Lord at each and every step. He has walked before us and knows just what we need and what we didn't need. A few years ago we are ready to purchase a new home. I mean we were as close as we could be. This was my dream home. But something inside my husband said no. Something in him said we needed to wait. Praise the Lord he listened. I know that was the Holy Spirit guiding him when all I could see was us moving into our dream home. If we had of purchased that house we would have very well lost it by now.
So, why share all this? The next time your standing in line at the grocer and you see someone pay with food stamps don't look at that them differently. Don't make them stand in shame. Pray for them. Reach out to them. Share a smile and say a kind word. You have no idea of their circumstances. Those who are less fortunate than you are just as worthy. I have found the less I have the more I call upon the Lord. I have learned that I am not defined by what I have but by who I am. I am a child of the King. There is nothing that can take that away from me.
My husband has found a job. He is making $8.50 per hour. He has never made that in his life. You know what? I am more proud of him today than ever before. He is a butcher at a local store that just opened. He works so very hard. I make sure he has breakfast, his lunch prepared and dinner on the table when he gets home. I rub his feet and bring him tea. This is the man of my dreams that on Valentines Day of this year will be our 20th anniversary. I am proud to stand next to my husband and be his wife. There is no one I would rather be with than him.
I have always been there to help others and it is hard when you can barely help yourself. My cousin has been a huge part of my support system. On those days where tears are falling she is there to listen to all. My mother and my in laws have helped us in ways we can never repay. If you have blessed my family you know just who you are. I am so thankful. This girl is forever being humbled and I will never be the same again. I am sure that is just what the Lord was working on.
If you are climbing a mountain right now don't give up my friends. You are not alone. You have a God who will pave the way. He will guide you and set your steps. He and only HE can make you complete and fill your heart with all you need. Nothing compares to His love. You are not your situation. You are not defined by your circumstances. You are defined by the God who made a way for you. Hold on. Be still. He will make a way for you.